So what can be done to protect the integrity of our environment, the place we call home? Community Environmental Defense Council, Inc. is working with municipalities to enact local laws that protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens.
The evidence that methane extraction using slick water horizontal chemical fracturing is damaging and dangerous to our air, water, soil and health grows stronger every day. Today many scientists agree that caution is needed before expanding this practice into more and more communities. By the time the promoters of unconventional methane extraction are convinced that it is unsafe, by the time we are all absolutely certain of the long lasting negative impacts from gas drilling, it will be too late to mitigate the negative effects. There is much that we do not know about the timing and severity of groundwater contamination, endocrine disrupting chemicals and greenhouse gas footprint. However, not having certain answers should not be an excuse for proceeding forward with a gold rush mentality, ignoring the dangers we know exist but that have not yet been quantified. If we are smart, we won’t wait until it is too late. We will take action now.
Most people buy car insurance without knowing with any degree of certainty whether or not they are going to be in a car accident or not. Doctors advise individuals with heart trouble to avoid fatty foods and to exercise despite the fact that there are many complex and unknowable factors that determine whether an individual will actually have a heart attack.
Applying that same logic to gas drilling, the current technology places out far outside the kinds of risk thresholds that we apply in other public arenas, such as aviation safety, building and bridge engineering, or automobile construction. When facing a substantial change of catastrophic consequence and the certainty of lesser negative effects, the only prudent course of action is to limit further expansion of unconventional methane gas drilling until the risks are known and have been mitigated.